Essay about Karl Marx And His Coauthor

Essay about Karl Marx And His Coauthor

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Marx and his coauthor, Friedrich Engels, begin The Communist Manifesto with the famous and provocative statement that the “history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle.” They argue that all changes in the shape of society, in political institutions, in history itself, are driven by a process of collective struggle on the part of groups of people with similar economic situations in order to realize their material or economic interests. These struggles, occurring throughout history from ancient Rome through the Middle Ages to the present day, have been struggles of economically subordinate classes against economically dominant classes who opposed their economic interests—slaves against masters, serfs against landlords, and so on. The modern industrialized world has been shaped by one such subordinate class—the bourgeoisie, or merchant class—in its struggle against the aristocratic elite of feudal society. Through world exploration, the discovery of raw materials and metals, and the opening of commercial markets across the globe, the bourgeoisie, whose livelihood is accumulation, grew wealthier and politically emboldened against the feudal order, which it eventually managed to sweep away through struggle and revolution. The bourgeoisie have risen to the status of dominant class in the modern industrial world, shaping political institutions and society according to its own interests. Far from doing away with class struggle, this once subordinate class, now dominant, has replaced one class struggle with another.
The bourgeoisie is the most spectacular force in history to date. The merchants’ zeal for accumulation has led them to conquer the globe, forcing everyone everywhere to adopt the capitalist mode o...


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...f historical materialism, which states that historical change is driven by collective actors attempting to realize their economic aims, resulting in class struggles in which one economic and political order is replaced by another. One of the central tenets of this theory is that social relationships and political alliances form around relations of production. Relations of production depend on a given society’s mode of production, or the specific economic organization of ownership and division of labor. A person’s actions, attitudes, and outlook on society and his politics, loyalties, and sense of collective belonging all derive from his location in the relations of production. History engages people as political actors whose identities are constituted as exploiter or exploited, who form alliances with others likewise identified, and who act based on these identities.

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